09/27 Padres Preview: Game 160 @ San Francisco

Kevin Liles

Burch Smith and Ryan Vogelsong face off at AT&T Park.

After taking three of four in their final home series of the year, the Padres hit the road to close out the season at AT&T Park. They've been playing well as of late, going 15-8 in their last 23 games. And much of that success can be attributed to the pitching staff, which has really come together late in the season. Over that 23-game stretch, San Diego pitchers have combined for a 2.77 ERA. Starters have made 16 quality starts overall and seven straight coming into tonight's matchup. Also, relievers have kept opponents to just six earned runs in their last 36 1/3 innings.

Burch Smith will try to continue that strong pitching trend as he makes the start in the series opener tonight. The rookie is 1-1 with a 2.00 ERA in his three starts this month, making a strong case for himself in the rotation talks for next season. He plans on pitching in the Arizona Fall League after the season ends, but tonight he'll get one last chance to impress at the big league level before the offseason.

The Padres will likely need a very strong outing from the right-hander if they hope to compete against the Giants at AT&T Park tonight. Though they've won five of their last seven games on the road, the Friars haven't been very strong overall this season away from San Diego. They have a 30-48 away record this year, including a 1-5 clip in San Francisco. Their struggles at the Giants' park haven't just been limited to this season either, as they've dropped 15 of their last 19 games there dating back to August of 2011.

However, their opponent tonight might give them a bit of a boost if past performance is any indication. Ryan Vogelsong will make the start for SF and looks to put an end to a five-start winless streak during which he's gone 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA. In his most recent outing, he gave up five runs in five innings of work. The righty struggled in his only start against the Padres this season, surrendering six runs on eight hits over five frames on April 28th at Petco Park. He was much better versus San Diego in 2012, when he went 3-1 with a 2.05 ERA in four starts against them. 2013 has been a rough season overall for Vogelsong. He's gona 3-6 with a 5.90 ERA this year after a 27-16 record in 2011-2012. A fractured right hand has hindered his performance on the mound and made him inconsistent, so he will look to end his season on a high note tonight and try to keep his name in consideration for next year's rotation.

The Padres will need a sweep in this final series of the season in order to avoid losing the season series to the Giants. Tune in at 7:15 to see if they can start the weekend off with a win.

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